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A successful baseball move

Kelson Brown is hoping his achievements in college will continue in pros

June 16, 2010|By Andrew Shortall
  • La Canada High graduate Kelson Brown earned All-American honors playing for Linfield College. He was drafted last week by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
La Canada High graduate Kelson Brown earned All-American… (Courtesy of Kelly…)

La Cañada native Kelson Brown has been bouncing around the country the past four years playing baseball. He has gone from Oregon to Iowa and now to Pennsylvania, as a new journey is about to begin.

In 2006, Brown left his hometown of La Cañada after graduating from La Cañada High to play baseball for Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. Brown returned home this spring after graduating, but wasn't there long.

He departed for Pennsylvania on Sunday, four days after being taken by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2010 Major League Baseball First-Year Players Draft.

Brown was carefully following the MLB draft at his house alone June 9, when he saw his name appear as the Pirates' 1,017 overall pick in the 34th round. He called his family and friends with the news, even before the Pirates' organization could call to congratulate him.

This summer, Brown will be playing Short-Season A-Ball for the State College Spikes of Pennsylvania, a minor league affiliate with the Pirates.

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"Being drafted is the first step," Brown said. "I want to be a professional baseball player, and I still have a lot to prove and a lot to get better at. I think I've been given a good situation at Pittsburgh."

This first step he's taken is a gigantic one, which has been years in the making.

Ever since he can remember, Brown has dreamed of being a professional baseball player. He said it wasn't until his junior year of college that the goal became a real possibility.

That dream was still in its infancy in high school. Playing for La Cañada, Brown's team won the Rio Hondo League championship his junior year. As a senior, his Spartans squad ended up taking second in league. Both years the Spartans made the CIF Southern Section playoffs but were eliminated in the second round.

Brown earned second-team All-Rio Hondo League accolades in 2005 as a shortstop.

"My senior year I started at shortstop, but we needed pitching, so I stepped on the mound, and that was actually where I was most successful," Brown said.

He was a first-team all-league selection his senior year, playing shortstop and pitching.

"Obviously, the experience of playing in playoff games and being a leader of a team for the first time as a senior was good going into college," Brown said. "I feel like most of my growth as a player came in college though."

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